Thursday, October 22nd, 2009
Chocolate chip cookies were the first thing that I ever baked solo, or rather, without the assistance of a parent. In junior high one of my best girlfriends and I would giggle about boys, night after Friday night, while mixing up them up by the batch. We continued the tradition through high school and I shudder slightly to think how many such cookies I’ve consumed in the past ten or so years.
Not surprisingly, chocolate chip cookies quickly became my go-to comfort food. I’ve stirred together many bowls of that familiar dough after (and sometimes before) a particularly difficult exam in college and at the end of a rough day since then.
This week we learned of the suicide of a 21-year-old cousin. We weren’t close and in fact, I hadn’t seen him in years, but my heart breaks for our family.
Shortly thereafter I found myself yearning for those buttery, chocolate-studded mouthfuls. But despite its timeless tastiness, my beloved Toll House recipe didn’t seem quite blog-worthy.
This rendition from The Great Book of Chocolate turned out to be every bit as delicious and seems to simplify the classic. The cookies are crisp around the edges but chewy and delicious, with the autumnal richness of toasted nuts contributing just as much flavor as the handfuls of chocolate chips. Add that to the fact that it’s quickly and easily produced on a Thursday night, despite the fatigue of a long week, and it’s definitely a winner.
Makes approximately 30 cookies
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter or margarine, cold, cut into 1/2-inch (1cm) pieces
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt or 7-8 turns of a salt grinder (guess which one I picked?)
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup walnuts or pecans, toasted and chopped
Place a rack in the top third of the oven and preheat to 300°F. Line three baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper.
Beat together sugars and butters until smooth; add egg, vanilla, and baking soda.
Stir together the flour and salt, then gradually add them into the batter. Fold in the chocolate chips and nuts.
Scoop the cookie dough into tablespoon-sized balls and place 8 balls, spaced 3-4 inches apart, on each of the baking sheets (moistened fingers are great for rounding out the dough).
Bake for 18 minutes, or until pale golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.